Evictions: Non-Payment of Rent

Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes provides general information on evictions. An eviction is the legal procedure a landlord must follow to remove a tenant from the landlord’s property. Although there are many types of evictions, the Clerk has information and forms available for the most common type of eviction:

Eviction for non-payment of rent

  • with possession/damages
  • or with possession only

Other types of evictions can be researched online, or by contacting an attorney. Evictions start with a notice and complaint to file the case. An Eviction packet is available for purchase at the Clerk's office, and downloadable forms are available on this website.

Eligibility Requirements for an Eviction Action

The following information is provided only to inform you of which documents must be filed, and the cost involved in a simple eviction case. If you have questions, or if the case is complicated, you may wish to consult an attorney. Please note that the Clerk and Deputy Clerk representatives are prohibited from giving legal advice.

Florida statutes allow landlords or their attorney to file the complaint. It also allows an authorized agent, such as a property manager, to initiate an eviction proceeding; however, the agent may not take any additional action unless the agent is an attorney.

These requirements apply only to evictions based on failure to pay rent. There are completely separate requirements for eviction for breach of other provisions of the lease, or when the lease is at an end and you do not desire to renew.

Filing the Complaint with the Courts

A landlord applying for removal of a tenant must file a Complaint For Tenant Eviction describing the dwelling unit and stating the facts authorizing recovery. The landlord may also request judgment for the amount of rent owed. The original Complaint, any supporting documents (lease, etc.), and sufficient copies per tenant must be filed with the Clerk's Office. Please see the Copy Requirements document to determine the number of copies you will need to supply.

The Complaint For Tenant Eviction web form creates the PDF Complaint and Summons for Tenant Eviction forms upon submission.

Before a hearing can be set or a default pursued, the Proof of Service must be returned to the Clerk's office for filing, to determine whether the summons was served.

Issuance of Summons

Upon filing the Complaint and paying the fee, the Clerk will issue a Summons for Tenant Eviction. A copy of the Complaint (to be supplied by the landlord) will be attached for service on the tenant. The summons can be served by the Sheriff's office, or a private process server.

Answer by the Tenant

The tenant has five days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays) after service of the summons to file any defenses. When depositing rent funds with the Clerk's office, the deposit must be in cash, money order, cashier's check, or a check drawn on an attorney's trust account. Clerk's fees apply to the deposited amount, and are calculated at 3% for the first $500 and 1.5% for the remaining amount. Clerk's fees may be paid by cash, money order, cashier's check, personal check (photo identification is required), or credit card. Please note that credit card transactions are subject to a 3.5% non-refundable fee accessed by a third-party payment processor.

Default

If the tenant fails to answer the summons, the landlord may file a Motion for Default, obtain a Final Judgment for Possession, and request the issuance of a Writ of Possession. These forms are all provided in the Eviction packet.

The Clerk is authorized to enter a Default upon the expiration of five business days after personal service on the tenant or, if service is by posting, five business days after service is effective, the date of posting or mailing, whichever occurs later.

After entry of the Judgment and upon request, the Clerk will issue a Writ of Possession to the Sheriff commanding him to put the landlord in possession 24 hours after service on the tenant. The Writ must be served by the Sheriff. The fee for service by the Sheriff is $90.00.

Dismissal

You may decide at any time to dismiss the proceedings. If you do so, it will not affect your right to start new proceedings if your tenant again fails to pay the rent on time. If you do dismiss the proceedings, and a hearing has been scheduled, you must notify the Judge before the final hearing date, so that the Judge can use the time for other proceedings.

Filing Fees

The eviction filing fee is payable in cash, by check (with proper identification provided, and made payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller) or by credit card. Please note that credit card transactions are subject to a 3.5% non-refundable fee accessed by a third party payment processor. There is also a separate fee for service of the summons. If you choose to use the Sheriff's Office for this service, the cost is $40.00 per tenant. Private process servers can also be hired, and their fees vary.

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